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49 (iv) Then Ya‘akov called for his sons and said,

“Gather yourselves together, and I will tell you
what will happen to you in the acharit-hayamim.
Assemble yourselves and listen, sons of Ya‘akov;
pay attention to Isra’el your father.

“Re’uven, you are my firstborn,
my strength, the firstfruits of my manhood.
Though superior in vigor and power
you are unstable as water, so your superiority will end,
because you climbed into your father’s bed
and defiled it — he climbed onto my concubine’s couch!

“Shim‘on and Levi are brothers,
related by weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council,
let my honor not be connected with their people;
for in their anger they killed men,
and at their whim they maimed cattle.
Cursed be their anger, for it has been fierce;
their fury, for it has been cruel.
I will divide them in Ya‘akov
and scatter them in Isra’el.

“Y’hudah, your brothers will acknowledge you,
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies,
your father’s sons will bow down before you.
Y’hudah is a lion’s cub;
my son, you stand over the prey.
He crouches down and stretches like a lion;
like a lioness, who dares to provoke him?
10 The scepter will not pass from Y’hudah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his legs,
until he comes to whom [obedience] belongs; [a]
and it is he whom the peoples will obey.
11 Tying his donkey to the vine,
his donkey’s colt to the choice grapevine,
he washes his clothes in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk.

13 “Z’vulun will live at the seashore,
with ships anchoring along his coast
and his border at Tzidon.

14 “Yissakhar is a strong donkey
lying down in the sheep sheds.
15 On seeing how good is settled life
and how pleasant the country,
he will bend his back to the burden,
and submit to forced labor.

16 “Dan will judge his people
as one of the tribes of Isra’el.
17 Dan will be a viper on the road,
a horned snake in the path
that bites the horse’s heels
so its rider falls off backward.
18 I wait for your deliverance, Adonai.

(v) 19 “Gad [troop]— a troop will troop on him,
but he will troop on their heel.

20 “Asher’s food is rich —
he will provide food fit for a king.
21 “Naftali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns. [b]

22 “Yosef is a fruitful plant,
a fruitful plant by a spring,
with branches climbing over the wall.
23 The archers attacked him fiercely,
shooting at him and pressing him hard;
24 but his bow remained taut;
and his arms were made nimble
by the hands of the Mighty One of Ya‘akov,
from there, from the Shepherd, the Stone of Isra’el,
25 by the God of your father, who will help you,
by El Shaddai, who will bless you
with blessings from heaven above,
blessings from the deep, lying below,
blessings from the breasts and the womb.
26 The blessings of your father are more powerful
than the blessings of my parents,
extending to the farthest of the everlasting hills;
they will be on the head of Yosef,
on the brow of the prince among his brothers.

(vi) 27 “Binyamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey,
in the evening still dividing the spoil.”

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Isra’el, and this is how their father spoke to them and blessed them, giving each his own individual blessing.

29 Then he charged them as follows: “I am to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave that is in the field of ‘Efron the Hitti, 30 the cave in the field of Makhpelah, by Mamre, in the land of Kena‘an, which Avraham bought together with the field from ‘Efron the Hitti as a burial-place belonging to him — 31 there they buried Avraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Yitz’chak and his wife Rivkah, and there I buried Le’ah — 32 the field and the cave in it, which was purchased from the sons of Het.”

33 When Ya‘akov had finished charging his sons, he drew his legs up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 49:10 or: until Shiloh comes
  2. Genesis 49:21 or: that says beautiful words.

Jacob Blesses His Sons(A)

49 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.(B)

“Assemble(C) and listen, sons of Jacob;
    listen to your father Israel.(D)

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,(E)
    my might, the first sign of my strength,(F)
    excelling in honor,(G) excelling in power.
Turbulent as the waters,(H) you will no longer excel,
    for you went up onto your father’s bed,
    onto my couch and defiled it.(I)

“Simeon(J) and Levi(K) are brothers—
    their swords[a] are weapons of violence.(L)
Let me not enter their council,
    let me not join their assembly,(M)
for they have killed men in their anger(N)
    and hamstrung(O) oxen as they pleased.
Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
    and their fury,(P) so cruel!(Q)
I will scatter them in Jacob
    and disperse them in Israel.(R)

“Judah,[b](S) your brothers will praise you;
    your hand will be on the neck(T) of your enemies;
    your father’s sons will bow down to you.(U)
You are a lion’s(V) cub,(W) Judah;(X)
    you return from the prey,(Y) my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
    like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,(Z)
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,[c]
until he to whom it belongs[d] shall come(AA)
    and the obedience of the nations shall be his.(AB)
11 He will tether his donkey(AC) to a vine,
    his colt to the choicest branch;(AD)
he will wash his garments in wine,
    his robes in the blood of grapes.(AE)
12 His eyes will be darker than wine,
    his teeth whiter than milk.[e](AF)

13 “Zebulun(AG) will live by the seashore
    and become a haven for ships;
    his border will extend toward Sidon.(AH)

14 “Issachar(AI) is a rawboned[f] donkey
    lying down among the sheep pens.[g](AJ)
15 When he sees how good is his resting place
    and how pleasant is his land,(AK)
he will bend his shoulder to the burden(AL)
    and submit to forced labor.(AM)

16 “Dan[h](AN) will provide justice for his people
    as one of the tribes of Israel.(AO)
17 Dan(AP) will be a snake by the roadside,
    a viper along the path,(AQ)
that bites the horse’s heels(AR)
    so that its rider tumbles backward.

18 “I look for your deliverance,(AS) Lord.(AT)

19 “Gad[i](AU) will be attacked by a band of raiders,
    but he will attack them at their heels.(AV)

20 “Asher’s(AW) food will be rich;(AX)
    he will provide delicacies fit for a king.(AY)

21 “Naphtali(AZ) is a doe set free
    that bears beautiful fawns.[j](BA)

22 “Joseph(BB) is a fruitful vine,(BC)
    a fruitful vine near a spring,
    whose branches(BD) climb over a wall.[k]
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;(BE)
    they shot at him with hostility.(BF)
24 But his bow remained steady,(BG)
    his strong arms(BH) stayed[l] limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,(BI)
    because of the Shepherd,(BJ) the Rock of Israel,(BK)
25 because of your father’s God,(BL) who helps(BM) you,
    because of the Almighty,[m](BN) who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
    blessings of the deep springs below,(BO)
    blessings of the breast(BP) and womb.(BQ)
26 Your father’s blessings are greater
    than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
    than[n] the bounty of the age-old hills.(BR)
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,(BS)
    on the brow of the prince among[o] his brothers.(BT)

27 “Benjamin(BU) is a ravenous wolf;(BV)
    in the morning he devours the prey,(BW)
    in the evening he divides the plunder.”(BX)

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel,(BY) and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing(BZ) appropriate to him.

The Death of Jacob

29 Then he gave them these instructions:(CA) “I am about to be gathered to my people.(CB) Bury me with my fathers(CC) in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite,(CD) 30 the cave in the field of Machpelah,(CE) near Mamre(CF) in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field(CG) as a burial place(CH) from Ephron the Hittite. 31 There Abraham(CI) and his wife Sarah(CJ) were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah(CK) were buried, and there I buried Leah.(CL) 32 The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.[p](CM)

33 When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.(CN)

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 49:5 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  2. Genesis 49:8 Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise.
  3. Genesis 49:10 Or from his descendants
  4. Genesis 49:10 Or to whom tribute belongs; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  5. Genesis 49:12 Or will be dull from wine, / his teeth white from milk
  6. Genesis 49:14 Or strong
  7. Genesis 49:14 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
  8. Genesis 49:16 Dan here means he provides justice.
  9. Genesis 49:19 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for attack and also for band of raiders.
  10. Genesis 49:21 Or free; / he utters beautiful words
  11. Genesis 49:22 Or Joseph is a wild colt, / a wild colt near a spring, / a wild donkey on a terraced hill
  12. Genesis 49:24 Or archers will attack … will shoot … will remain … will stay
  13. Genesis 49:25 Hebrew Shaddai
  14. Genesis 49:26 Or of my progenitors, / as great as
  15. Genesis 49:26 Or of the one separated from
  16. Genesis 49:32 Or the descendants of Heth

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